I ALWAYS relish an invitation to visit Archt. Jose Racho Jr.'s home. Thus, I was there again on his birthday several weeks ago, and accompanied my college classmate Jinky Rayo a week later.
I can never get enough of looking over his vast brassware collection.
He's been collecting these since college, he said, mostly brought over by Maranao traders.
Since after the Marawi siege, there hasn't been much on the market, and whatever is brought out is very expensive.
Archt. Racho, having built her collection across four decades has the best of them.
His collections range from Maranao brasswares to Tboli and Blaan, in designs and methods that are no longer done today.
There's a sad note to his story now, he feels that he has collected enough and no longer even wants to keep them. He's hoping someone would get it in bulk, sorting through these individually, he said, is such a chore.
That is also why one visit is not enough. You'd want to come back over and over again, to look through each individual piece, and gawk.
We're still encouraging him to put all these in a museum. He just shrugs, non-committal.
Looking at each piece, I cannot help but wonder, when were these made and whose hands crafted these?
Each piece are but a silent testimony to the artisans who spent hours melting and shaping, from brass castings to inlays. Along with the scrutiny comes that wish of knowing more about the trends in design of brasswares to be able to identify from which decade and which place all these came from.